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Thread: Have you ever...

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Portland (OR) metro area

    Default Have you ever...

    Farted around with "making" your own lines?

    I've been on a quest to figure out which line would be the best for my little switch rod (Echo SR 4106-4) - as there's a bit of contention even in Echo's printed literature concerning this rod.

    The blank is labelled a "4 weight" - Echo recommends a Speydicator #4, a WF6F (an Airflo Ridge 40+ #6 was the suggested line in some of the literature), a 240 grain Compact Scandi, or they give a general grain window of 210 to 270 grains for this rod.

    The fly shop I bought it from gave me an Airflo Ridge Tactical Trout WF6F that worked very well for single hand casting, and reasonably well for close in double handed casting. The more I play around with this rod though - the more I noticed that I was having trouble reaching beyond about 60' on a regular basis.

    It occurred to me, that a WF6 line, according to AFTMA standards at least, has a 30' tip that is only equal to 160 grains, give or take, and even the "weight and a half" lines that are so popular would only be about 170 grains for 30' of line. (I've not been able to dig up exact total-head weight info for this line) - but I have a hard time believing that the first 30' weigh in at 160, then the line jumps up to 200+ grains for just 10 more feet of line.

    So I decided to play around a bit with some lines I had laying around (mostly Cortland 333 lines that wouldn't have tears shed over their demise if I @$!(*&U'd things up).

    I had a #9 WF floating line left over from a couple years back, along with a Cortland Fairplay #4 line that wasn't going to be seeing much use ever again. Taking the 210-270 grain weight window - that would put the line at an AFTMA #8 to a #10 - so that good ol' 9 weight was smack dab in the middle of the weight range. I lopped off the first 30' of the 333 line, and whipped loops onto both ends.

    Then I had a decision to make - do I opt for mono running/shooting line, or do I opt for a coated running line? So I tried both. First up, I tried mono. Mono is cheap, and I have a few large spools sitting around for use with my heavier gear rods. 100' of mono won't be missed either.

    I liked the way the mono shoots - but I ran into a couple problems with my "ghetto head" setup - the mono-to-fly line loop connection wasn't very smooth. Given the drastic diameter difference, it would cause the connection to catch on the guides when retrieving line (that'd suck if I were actually fishing and trying to land a fish with that setup). The other problem - the mono, even when stretched, had a tendency to want to twist together or coil up by my feet. This wouldn't do.

    So I looked at the running line on that Fairplay 4 weight. Yeah, it wouldn't be 100' of running line - but 60' of running line plus the 30' of "ghetto head" would be plenty for the waters I'm using this setup on, so it was "off with her head" as it was. Whipped a loop connection onto the running section and tried it out. The new connection slips through the guides much more nicely, especially since I left about 10" of taper on the head end of the running line.

    This setup seems to cast fairly well - at least as well as I can do on the lawn using a "grass leader". I need to get it to a casting pond to give it a real test.

    It does load the rod more easily than the WF6 line does, almost to the point of over-loading (if I had an 8 weight to chop up, I'd try it too) if I put too much oomph into the casting stroke.

    Single hand casting this setup was interesting - it was actually hard to not let line shoot on the first haul of my double haul. Seems like this would be great for turning over heavier nymph rigs or a large indicator.

    As one final bit of experiment, I lopped off the front tapered section of that Fairplay #4 and whipped loops onto it's ends - effectively lengthening the taper of heavier 333 line. It probably won't turn over heavier flies or teams of flies the same as just that 9 weight head would - but it might make for more delicate casts.

    It's not a terribly serious experiment - but it was kind of fun to play around a bit. I think at this point, I'm going to order Airflo's Compact Scandi 240 or 270 grain line come spring (when I'll actually be able to seriously use this rod again) and call it good.

    I'm not fishing huge flies on this rod - as I've mentioned before, it's primary use is swinging soft hackled wets to trout on coastal rivers, although I've done some indicator and tight line nymphing with it also - and letting me learn the whole two-handed casting thing

    Cabela's is running a sale on their LSI switch and spey rods right now, and I'm seriously considering picking up the 12'6" 7 weight spey for steelhead fishing and "proper" spey/switch (or skagit/scandi) use, since some NW residents scoff at using two handed rods for lowly trout.

    The LSI rods are nice, and at $143 for the most expensive rods right now (which normally run $250 ish) they're looking even more attractive. I've wiggled and jiggled the rods in person at a couple of their stores, and they seem to be as well built as the LSI single handers - one of which I own and really enjoy fishing.
    Floggin' Water since I was 3. Have you hugged a fish today?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Northern California
    Blog Entries

    Default Re: Have you ever...

    Fly lines are being made so well nowadays, I don't bother trying to make my own lines.

    My local fly shop has its selection of demo shooting heads from Rio and Airflo that I can take to the local river.

    Custom lines can be sourced from Steve Godshall up in Oregon. His prices do not cost any more than a Rio or Airflo. He can make both one piece and shooting heads. I got my Godshall Scandi head when I bought my ACR Spey rod.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Truckee, CA.
    Blog Entries

    Default Re: Have you ever...

    flymark, I'm with Dennis on the making a line thing. Plenty of good lines out there already.
    But I like that you feel free to experiment.
    I think it leads to discoveries that are unavailable to those that don't..
    Even if you come up with something awful, it will seem even sweeter when you find THE set-up for your rod/style/water. You will have figured it out.
    Look at it this way.
    To some people a tire is just a tire.
    To a winning racer, changes in brand, tread pattern, and composition, are huge. Very personal.
    A source of confidence...
    I think sorting out switch lines ASAP is similarly important (and confidence related), so you can focus on fishing, not casting.
    When I can blast a cast right where I want it, I know I will catch fish. (Whether, dry-fly, indy, or spey.)
    When I'm fighting the cast, if I catch a fish, it will feel like a happy accident.
    My main goal is to make this fishing thing less accidental....

    A nice solution to grabby transition knots, is a product called UV Knot sense.
    Hold the knot in the shade. Apply a small drop, and expose to sun.
    Line hang-up in the guides, has cost me a fish or two, and can break rods. Smooth is better.
    Works on heavy leaders, fly-line terminal knot, and between heads and running line.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    quiet corner, ct

    Default Re: Have you ever...

    Steelhead fishermen used to make their own integrated lines long before Teeny first came out with a factory version.
    I read about them in a book that I no longer have (A River Never Sleeps ?) and in old magazine articles (Trey Coombs ?) and I did make one once years ago.
    As I remember I used a L5F for the running line and a used (333 ) WF9S for the head. Matched and cut on a steep angle, sewn together, whipped over with thread, and coated with Pliobond.
    I never trusted the connection and didn't use it but once or twice.
    Probably still have it.
    The simpler the outfit, the more skill it takes to manage it, and the more pleasure one gets in his achievements. --- Horace Kephart

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